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Local chef celebrates birthday by helping foster children 


Chef Ed Drake of Next Door Bistro.

Chef Ed Drake of Next Door Bistro.

–November 12 was Next Door Bistro Chef’s Ed Drake’s 30th birthday. Drake celebrates his birthday every year by a month-long fund raising project to help a local nonprofit. This year’s project is to provide 30 “sweet cases” for children in foster care. Sweet cases are special duffle bags that are given to children so they have something other than trash bags for their belongings when the move from home to home. The sweet cases contain hygiene kits, coloring books, blankets and pillow pets. Donations can be made through Drake’s crowd-funding campaign, on the Together We Rise website or at the bistro.

The Drakes are planning to adopt and decided that raising funds for 30 sweet cases would be the perfect match for Drake’s birthday while recognizing National Adoption Month at the same time. The goal is to raise $750. “We are about 56 percent there but we don’t have to stop at 30,” stated Drake. “The more we raise the more sweet cases we can make available.”next door bistro

Some of the sweet cases are going to the Kinship Center in Templeton. Drake stated that is the organization the Drakes are working with for their adoption. The Kinship Center is a California nonprofit agency that helps create and support permanent families for children through adoption, relative caregiving or other guardianship. Together We Rise was founded in 2008 from the vision of a group of college students after one of them discovered that their 9 year-old cousin was living in a car. The organization’s goal is to help change the way youth experience foster care.

Sweet cases are given to children in foster care who are 10 years old and younger. According to the “Child Welfare Outcomes Report Data” from the federal Children’s Bureau, there were 56,947 children in foster care in California at the end of fiscal year 2013. Over half of those children, 57.5 percent, were 10 years old or younger.

The Next Door Bistro is located at 822 13th Street, phone: (805) 591-7136. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.